tv Prime Minister Cameron on U.K.- Scotland Relations CSPAN November 23, 2014 9:35pm-11:07pm EST
[no audio] >> the prime minister, and while computer we are glad to have you before us. the issues of the governments of and theed kingdom scotland, and we will start with scotland, and we will ask mr. davis to begin. >> during these events, we made a clear commitment in the event scotland voted to remain in the united kingdom. kingdom, kingdom, kingdom, kingdom, kingdom, kingdom, kingdom, kingdom,
-- do you accept that this was that this would be additional powers of scotland, freestanding. >> yes. the pledge that was made is, i think, important, and i am very confident of that. there should be further, particularly fiscal devolution to scotland, to raise taxes and spend money, and there's a program for delivering that, and so we already have the command paper. we will get the report next week, and that will be turned into draft causes in january of next year, and all of said whoever is in the government after that election, that would be legislative, so scotland has a guarantee of further devolution.
what i have said, what i think is right, at the same time, there should be a solution to the english question, which is shouldn't there be a way to make things affect england or england and wales, they should have to give their like thatnd i would settled, as well, but one is not dependent on the other. if i win the next election, you get both. you get scottish devolution, and you get an answer to the other question. they ought to, in my view, make that clear, but i have made it clear that if you get me, you get both. effectively yes. it's effectively yes the same as yes? >> you can see exactly what you get. one is not dependent on the other.
>> all of these recommendations be accepted by the government, or will there be some process or consultation or discussion? >> well, what we have said is that we have received the smith report. all of the parties are involved with the smith to mission, and he has been lauded publicly for the work he is doing. it is very, very important work, and i do not see any reason why we would not receive and accept those terms and turned them into causes in january. i think every party has to speak for themselves, but during the referendum campaign, the conservative party published a stratified report, which i think set out the case for further fiscal devolution, and i cannot prejudge exactly what smith is going to say, because i am happy with the way it is progressing,
and i am very confident, as i say, that we will meet both the timetable and the substance. a clarification that the draft will be based on smith? >> yes, yes. >> and will you as our toernment reserved the right seek if there is some element to smith which you're not happy about? >> what we are trying to do here is reach consensus between the parties. i mean, the good thing about this process is that all of the parties in scotland are taking part, smp included, and hope the pros -- what smith has tried to do is bring together a consensus that everyone can accept and go ahead with. so that's what i anticipate happening. >> if there's not a consensus amongst the people on the smith commission, what happens then? does the government table table table table table table
table table table table table table table table table table table table table -- and i do not want to speculate. >> who in this government will be responsible for taking this with the proposals from smith and seeing their way through? >> i take responsibility for this. you have to bring different parts of the government and the coalition together. responsibility. william hague has been chairing a committee, examining not just issues around scotland but also issues about devolution to neighborhoods, cities, and also looking at the question, so he has a big responsibility to the
government, but, of course, his scottish secretary, as well, but the responsibility would be right here with making sure that we do this. >> thank you. minister, is it inevitable that they are to get further powers? >> i think before we dive into all of the details, standing back a second, what are we trying to do? what is the aim of the whole process? which is we want to make sure our united kingdom of our four nations i've a good settlement where there is respect for the ourlved situation of nations in our kingdom and that we feel happy and contented together in our united kingdom, and we have not reached that yet. there have been various pieces
of devolution. we have a well-established scottish parliament and a well-established welsh assembly. i do not think we have reached that point where this is a settlement that people really fine tune, and it matters because i think it is a bit unhealthy in a way, whether in welsh politics or scottish politics or northern ireland politics or english politics. we ought to be talking about jobs and growth and all of the rest of the, rather than the change. the aim is a settlement that settles down, where we feel there is a good resting place, if i can put it that way. i am sorryast, and about giving such a long answer, but there is a process about more devolution, and as you know, there are sort of two parts to it. it is the idea of wales having a
sort of power and tax devolution which scotland already has, legislative authority is, so that is sort of stage one , the welsh assembly. stage two is to look at whether there are more powers -- everything is like leasing and transport, that should be devolved in wales, and as you know, the secretary of state as a process, and i think he is going to report back in march to see what is appropriate there. >> could you see those powers being given to wales before the english situation is resolved? >> if i am prime minister after the next election, what you will get is you will get a solution to the english votes and english laws, you will get the further scottish devolution, turned into
i hope and in my view, that there will be some further move on the welsh devolution, but that will very much depend on the welsh assembly government, because i personally believe it would be good to have a referendum in wales on the tax aising powers, and i am like double yes-man. if i say yes to a referendum, so wales has those powers, i would like to see that happen, but that depends on what the welsh assembly government requests. devolution of powers to wales, some of the ones i mentioned, policing, justice, transport, and other powers, there is a process that the secretary is bringing together to examine. i can see arguments on both sides. i have some concerns about the united policing, because i think there is such a connection
between england and wales on policing issues because of the nature of the border, so i think it is slightly different, but i am open. i think wethe aim, have to keep defaulting back to the big picture, which is what is going to make the united kingdom a strong, cohesive political entity with respect for the devolved nations with a system that makes sense and that people are comfortable with, so at the end, the aim of the debate is to have it completed, completed bits of devolution, and then to spend more time on the other. >> the new secretary of state choice,s, a very good has said that he will remove the lockstep mechanism as far as tax raising in wales out of concern that given that we, and i strongly support of the lockstep -- might this be a little premature?
>> i can see that the strong and i thinkfor it, given that our party had the mission and recommended not having a lockstep in scotland. i think it makes sense not to have one in wales. i am comfortable with that. i understand the concerns of people about high marginal tax rates. is whole argument here really do we think that giving taxlved institutions raising powers and spending powers, do we think that will answer our question about how to settle down with the united kingdom, and i think for the good reason that the system -- that the system does not work, and i think you have that extra responsibility of raising, and
that enhances the respect and makes it a more responsible institution. i think removing the lockstep is a good part of that. may, you said the reform of the 30-year-old -- stabilization of public finances, given the public finances seem to be stable, do you not think that the time has come now, especially in light of the scottish referendum, to look at that, funding wales by 300 million pounds per year? all, there is of still a lot of work to do to eradicate the deficit and start paying back money, and that will require further public spending. the second point is if we go for
this process of devolving tax raising powers to the scottish parliament, the welsh assembly, then the importance will reduce because obviously, these institutions will have smaller backgrounds and will have larger tax bases, and so the importance of it will be less. what i have said is i don't think reform is on the horizon. i said that in 2013 and i stick by that, and i would say particularly english colony, but also welsh colonies is i don't think there's any magic formula here of how you work out distribution between the nations of the united kingdom. i think to english colleagues, i do not think there is a pot of gold.
so i think the best thing to do and to build the institutions of wales and scotland in that way. >> thank you. >> i think we all want to see something sustainable and it has to be fair. and i want to draw on some evidence that we got in my committee. >> right. >> where he said to take the simplistic example, let's say that it is devolved and the rest of the united kingdome decides to increase the income tax, if it were devolved, the income tax in the country where it's devolved, scotland in this example, would be completely ineffective. -- unaffected. to raise the income tax. however, you still have a
formula of increasing spending on health service, which goes through into more money going through. is if think he is saying we get the control over the income tax and we keep the formula, we then raise taxes in the u.k. to pay for extra health care, and the scots could be said to be gaining an unfair advantage, and therefore it would not be a sustainable fromement, and this comes health raised by english taxpayers with the formula without having to pay for it, increasing taxes on themselves, so i think we have got a difficulty in taking forward the commitment that you all made on the barnett formula, with the tax raising powers, without disadvantaging either english or others, and i do
not know how you are going to square that. >> i think i followed all of that. and he is right. he is right, technically, because the way it works is if you decide to spend more money, it is consequential for scotland and wales. they get extra money. the income tax is that something that would be raised and spent in scotland, so your point is you increase spending back in scotland, and then they have to raise taxes to pay for it. i think the only thing i would say is if you did not have the formula, you would have to have another formula for working out how much money to give england and how much money to give and scotland has needs, so scotland would get money for those needs, and this has sort of worked in that when you are addressing the need to spend more money on the health service, there is more money for
their health service. it that way, but also remember that as you devolved tax raising powers, the importance gets less, because the share of total spending will get smaller, so it is not a perfect answer, but there is the why is ite, which is so complicated to get this right, and one of the reasons it is complicated is our united kingdom, unlike some systems, is a very large england and a quite a lot smaller scotland, wales, and northern ireland, so you cannot do the psychological thing, touches have a sort of federal state, because the four nations are not the same size, so we are living in a world where you have to try to find a solution that works for the way the united kingdom is shaped in its different sizes, and i think
my argument is working off barnett, having the tax devolution with these powers. we can make our united kingdom work, but it is not perfect. be metink this will only if the details are firm. is fairbut i think it to say that, as i say, the size is going to get smaller, because the taxes will get bigger. >> if the scots decide to increase scottish income tax for their services that they want in that will add to our u.k. public expenditure, and if you therefore wish to stay within the u.k. public expenditure totals, english taxpayers may have to take a further cut in public spending, while their scottish counterparts will have the freedom to protect the scottish citizen. how are you going to do that?
the point.tand if you believe in devolution, you have to believe that the scottish parliament is able if it wants to to spend more and to raise more money in taxes. as a consequence of that, it would put up total spending across the u.k., and i think it would be very perverse as a result to say as a result, we have to cut english public spending, and no government would do that. it's raising your taxes is to add to the public spending in the total united kingdom. problemuld be more of a if the scottish parliament was able simply to spend lots and lots more money and borrow lots and lots of money. it, you are changing ,erhaps with interest rates but, yes, scotland should have more borrowing powers.
i do not think it is going to be a problem. it is a scottish decision. it has a consequence for the whole of the united kingdom. but it is not causing them any problems. it is not adding to borrowing in an irresponsible way. sentiment, they can borrow and raise taxes. i assume that with the forthcoming settlement, they will pay for both capital and revenue for the health services, so it is a change. if what you are saying to us is it isexpenditure totals, not going to add to borrowing. that is fine. i do not see how else -- >> it is an important discussion. borrowing in as much as the goddess government and -- exercises its power to
borrow, but as a consequence of fiscal devolution, taxing more and spending more, that adds to total public spending, and i think the answer to that is part of the new settlement. important,that is and getting it to gail, because the scale of the additional public spending, all paid extra scottish -- >> the income tax. >> that would depend on it. look at howould this is going to work, but the principle is a relatively simple one. again, there will also be limits in political actuality. if the scottish government decided to spend huge amounts of money and raise hughes -- huge this would taxes, get people thinking about businesses, thinking about relocation and the rest of it,
said it would be constraints, but you have the power to raise some of the money that you spend, and if you want to spend more, you can raise more, and that would affect overall matters in the united kingdom. come back to the big picture. why are we doing this? it is to try to find an agreement that makes the united kingdom even stronger in the future. >> chairman, in northern ireland in that context, looking at someone potentially having a lower corporate income tax rate, and my own personal view on it -- >> we will come to that. but few will come to that. ok, i am sorry. what you have said so far
there is that you are not going to tear out barnett, and if we did not have barnett, we would need some other formula. and you used the word need. don't you think there is merit -- everyone has agreed that the barnett formula is extra generous at an expense. don't you think, therefore, for ais at least a need grand commission of some sort of all the nations to look into the to allocatehow best resources according to need between them? >> it is something, i am sure, does get examined by experts and commissions, and that will continue. i have made a commitment.
i will stick to that commitment, and i think most important way is to deliver this fiscal devolution, which is also important but will also decrease the relevance of barnett. >> so the answer to that is no, really. >> it is not on my horizon. >> all right. i would just like to ask one question. that one lordtion has had a question in, as well. one other issue that needs picking up on borrowing. presume, thate, i is more fiscal devolution is granted, there would be spend, or in tax and tax, at least. the evidence suggests that. whatever you do.
in which case, isn't there a case for >> well, what we've done -- first of all, let me -- short answer is yes. when you devolve -- >> tax powers. that's what. >> no, important for me to understand because some have had this debate as though nothing is happening. actually, under this government there's been the biggest act to devolution in scotland for years. it is important for people to know that ten pence of income tax is being devolved to scotland, stamp duty, land tax, land fill tax, those things will be devolved to the scottish government and the hims will be gushed the limits on borrowing -- the limits on the borrowing will be decreased to an overall count of 2.2 billion. that's already happened. >> the short answer is yes. in any case it's already in transit.
in principle and in practice you're already acting on it. in which case for the purposes of scottish borrowing, which may result in the increased scottish borrowing, would you agree in practice the uk will end up as the lender of last resort? >> well, effectively, in a unitary system with devolution and limits on borrowing, in the end, the sovereign entity is the uk government. >> so we will remain the lender of last resort, in which case -- >> i think it's important to understand why. we're not creating a system in which the devolved parliaments can spend and borrow without limit. that would be in my view, a dangerous and bad idea. this is taking better responsibility for raising and spending money with some additional borrowing powers to give that sort of flexibility, to make the system make sense. but to not borrow without limit. >> in which case it's accepting,
isn't it, that to the extent the markets view the risk of that increased borrowing leading to that lender of last resort facility being activated, to the extent that the markets conclude that the risk is nonnegligible, there will be an increase in uk borrowing as a whole. as a result of any increase in scottish borrowing. >> yes, but within the limit, as i said. >> thanks. >> thank you. on the issue of cooperation tax devolving it to northern ireland, you did indicate a number of months ago you'd look at this after the scottish referendum. i know we touched on it briefly during questions yesterday. but perhaps you could give some indication as to what you're considering doing on this respect? >> well, what i've said and what the government said is in the sort of economic pact that we came to with northern ireland to
devolve more powers and to seek greater economic resurgence in ireland, we said that we would set out a path on this which is coming up in a couple of weeks time. and i remain committed to that. i think it's worth sort of, again, trying to ask why are we -- why is this an issue and what's the right way to -- you know, i think there's a case that the northern irish parties made, which i think is strong, is that there is a difference in northern ireland on two grounds. one is there's a land border with the republic of ireland that's got a very different rate of tax, and that makes it unique in the united kingdom so it is different to devolving corporation tax in wales or in scott land. and the second thing they say is because of the troubles and difficulties over many, many years, the public sector in northern ireland is so -- is absolutely huge and the private sector is too small and we need to find ways to regenerate the private sector.
and what's interesting is you get this as strongly from martin mcguinness as you do from peter robinson. so i think it's absolutely right for the government to consider this. obviously, there are all sorts of considerations to take into account. bt i do think their argument that northern ireland is different is one that we should properly engage with. >> you gave a number of reasons to do it and creating jobs through and investment and that's obviously one of the big issues which you've touched on in the more general points you make. i'm not sure you've given any assurance to when it's going to happen. >> i said there is a process. that's what's going to happen. so i think it's important we stick to that approach. but let's be clear with all these issues of tax devolution because it sounds like the westminster is sitting there
doing out you have this tax power, you have that tax power. but devolving a tax power has very serious consequences. for the devolved authority. because you've got to work out how much brawn you take away as you give this power. and what the future consequences are. so there's a lot of very difficult work that has to be done. as i said, this government in good faith has been discussing with the parties of northern ireland just how important they think this is, and they make this very strong case that it is different in northern ireland. one of the other things we need to do is make sure in the republic of ireland the tax rate is -- they have a corporation tax rate, a problem is a lot of businesses pay 2% because they've done a double irish deal funneling profits through god knows where. and we need to, through the international tax exchange and the treaties, the work i've been doing with the g-20 and g-8 and the eu, we need to sort this out. so, you know, in our case 20% should mean 20% and in the irish
case 12% should mean 12%. >> indeed, it is a difficult thing to consider for all the reasons you've given. yesterday, though, in your answer, you said that we need to look at northern ireland to see that the budget is working and the government of northern ireland is working. of course, in westminster, we have a very different system. we have a government, we have an opposition. in northern ireland, historically, we don't have that situation. it was set up, as you well know, to bring about peace not to bring about efficient decisionmaking. i just hope that getting agreements on very many issues in the assembly in northern ireland, i hope that's not going to be the sort of thing that prevents any devolution of the corporation tax. because it's not set up to be efficient but to bring people together. it is very different than westminster as you well know. >> you have a long record of working with and supporting the devolving institutions in northern ireland.
i know how much you care about this. obviously, as prime minister i want northern ireland to be a successful prosperous part of the united kingdom, but we do need responsible government. and you know, at the moment, there have been real issues in northern ireland, as you know, about sorting out their budgets. and i don't think -- it's difficult to argue you should have more responsibility in terms of tax raising powers if you're not adequately sorting out the current budgets for northern ireland and making sure the government is delivering for people in northern ireland. and we should be discussing with them how best to do that. and so i think there is a link between these things. >> thank you very much. >> mr. betts. >> thank you. scotland, wales, northern ireland on to england. i think it was generally great that devolution should happen in england, that we don't want another level of political organizations created. so devolution is going to happen
to local authority ors to a combination of local authorities, hebs thence the -- hence the recent deal with manchester authorities. the manchester deal and the eds deald and lead which will follow shortly, will all be about spending power, but in scotland we're talking about spending and taxation. why in england are we appearing to rule out devolving fiscal powers as well? >> well, first of all -- i don't want to get too, but there should be devolution to scotland and to wales and you need equivalent devolution to english laws. i don't think we can have a situation where we forever ignore this question. and i am concerned -- >> i was just going to attend to that. >> i thought we were jumping. i will -- right. in terms of should we give lots of new tax raising powers to local authorities -- >> or combinations of authorities.
>> in the interests of candor, i've tried to give straight answers so far, my answer, that would be no. i don't want to -- look, i think we've got enough taxes in our countries. i don't want to see reams of more tax. but i'm proud of the work this government has done to devolve spending powers and real powers to local authorities through the city deals, the devolution of some decision making and spending to local enterprise partnerships through the local growth deals, i think these are really good moves. and i'm delighted that we're going to see in greater manchester a new greater manchester metro there. this is great news. but i don't see the need for a lot of extra tax powers, no, i'm a bit skeptical of it. >> extra tax powers, no, but who controls the tax? and in reality in england is less than 5%, around 2% of total taxation is actually controlled by local councils. that's the council tax. can you have real devolution of powers to local communities communities have some
say over the taxation that's raised in their areas, the rates of it and the amounts? can the people of england -- >> well, if you take away the system works now, what we've tried to do as a government is to make sure there's a better connection between decisions made locally and finance. so, for instance, like the new homes bonus. if you build homes, then you should get the money that goes with those homes to help provide the infrastructure. if you attract business to your area, you keep a greater share of the business rates and also obviously councils are still responsible for setting the level of tax. -- level of the council tax. so i don't accept that there's no connection between the decisions made locally and the money that local councils get. >> we have moved from the situation years ago where a very large proportion of councils' expenditure was raised from what they set. into the situation you described
where it's a tiny portion. >> in the last 4 1/2 years moved to a situation where local councils, the consequence of their decisions and the money that flows to them are better linked than they have been. >> if we take those examples of the new homes bonus, the reality is that's a tiny fraction of the expenditure that's raised and controlled by councils themselves. do you accept that our major cities in this country are in a far more constrained position than any of their counterparts in europe who have much more power to determine at local level the taxes they raise and how they're spent. i mean, isn't that the real freedom and real devolution we should be looking for? >> well, look, i think what we should be looking for is what we're doing which is city deals which, you know have been , welcomed up and down the country by labor leaders, authorities, liberal leaders of local authorities, cross party everyone says these city deals that have devolved real money and real power -- >> the power to raise tax. we actually did a report about
fiscal devolution that was actually welcomed by the mayor of london, the leaders of the london cross party, the leaders of the core cities who all said to actually enable them to have the powers to enable growth in area, to enable cities to grow the way we want them to. this is cross party agreement to our report. it just seems the government is the odd one out here resisting. >> i think you're being a bit churlish. this government has done more than its predecessors to go to white hall and say what money can we find, what powers can we find, over skills, over transport and devolve those to local authorities. and if you listen to city leaders of birmingham or manchester or liverpool or leeds , they say it has actually at least transferred powers and money for these city deals to go ahead. look, if you got a whole different plan for how you want
cities to work up council tax bills and the rest of it, fine, put it on the table. with the government has done is good. -- what the government has done is good. >> and no one is saying, prime minister, that we don't welcome the transfer of spending powers. we're saying that's only half the story. the leaders of our major cities including the mayor of london have actually concurred with that. in the end, the communities in england, the voters in the cities of england can't be trusted with their own taxation as the people of scotland can. >> no, what i am saying is that i seem to be at the moment the only party leader who is prepared to say to the people of england, you should have some of the rights in terms of rights over legislation that are being given to scotland and wales. and if i might say your party is very happy to have discussions with other parties about devolution in scotland, you are very happy to have discussions with other parties about devolation in wales, you're happy to have discussion about devolution in ireland, but in
england you seem not prepared to have any discussion. >> order, order. >> those remarks belong in a different venue. >> they don't. i totally don't accept that. >> because they're not an answer to the question. >> they are an answer to the question. >> the question is about. >> what clyde is saying why don't you give to the cities of england what you're giving to the people of scotland and wales? the answer to that the people who should be giving that are the people of england. i don't accept the argument he's putting. >> all i would say is if we talk about an agreement in cross party because the report was cross party and again it is the mayor of london as well as the labor leaders of the major cities who are all saying that real devolution has to involve fiscal devolution as well as devolution of spending powers. -- the idea somehow that somehow devolving powers to
the english mps -- >> we'll return to that. >> the point i was making. you disagree with it. >> the point that i am making is that you have equivalence for england as you do for scotland and wales, something the labor party doesn't accept. we ought to be trying to get cross-party agreement in england as we have in scotland, wales, and northern ireland. i find it curious that the labour party will not engage in this. >> in 2016 scotland will currently retain ten pence of income tax. that may change through the smith process. it's not a new tax, but it's a reallocation of existing funding, it will mean a reduction in the bloc grant to scotland. it's a balance, as it were. we, all parties, passed this scotland act in the house. and the treasury seemed quite happy with it. obviously you were quite happy with it. if the hague process and the lord smith process indicate that this could be possible as part of a broader solution on devolution in england, would you, prime minister, accept
income tax assignment as part of the answer on english devolution? >> that's a very good question. i think that is quite difficult. i think that we come to the whole english votes for english laws issue. i think the wrong answer would be an english parliament and an english executive so that we effectively have a fully federal system. i think that the last thing, frankly, that any of our constituents want is another full of mps. we're trying to make the westminster parliament work better so we can address the english again. i don't think assignment is the right answer. >> for england. >> for england. i think the right answer is to address the issue of legislative powers which i'm sure you'll come on to. i think we need to address the issue of how we vote on financial issues where, for instance, the local government
wants this decided for england, then it should probably be english mps who play the leading role on that. then you have the question of how you handle budgets which i think is very difficult. but i would put it like this. if you give the power to the scottish parliament to change income tax rates, then i think you have to have a way in the westminster parliament where english mps are able to avoid tax rates being set by members of parliament whose constituent parts were already voted for scottish tax rates, put it that way. >> either way, people representing england or parts of england to decide how much tax they want to raise in order to spend the money they think needs to be spent. >> i don't think -- look, that's a very good question. i think assignment is -- in a system where you are not going to go to an english parliament
is quite difficult to deliver. i think there is probably this question of english votes for english laws is soluble. there has been lots of work that's been done over recent years whether by -- i think these are -- i don't think -- to answer your question, i don't think assignment for england is the answer. >> so i think we're one at not having an english parliament do this, but it can be done through the normal existing mechanism op local government and all you would be doing is reducing the block grant to local government and increasing or allowing them to see transparentally -- >> sir, i think i got the wrong end of this debate. >> devouring all our income tax actually does go to local government. but it would be open, honor transparent. >> i thought you were saying should you have an assignment of
-- assignment for england of increase tax. in the same way that we have for scotland. but you're saying why don't we have an assignment to local authorities of what they eventually get in local income tack? -- income tax. is that what you are saying? >> as right now without any changes in the numbers but actually all you would be doing, since you wouldn't be changing the number for the local authority, they'd still be getting the same amount of money, but people would see this is actually their income tax. rather like scotland in 2016, there will be no change unless smith changes it. but that the scottish people will see that an element of their income tax is retained in their country. and english local government as a whole would see that an element of income tax is retained through the dclg. >> i'm not quite sure i see the point of that. >> transparency and -- >> you can't change it. why are we devolveing -- i have to go and look and think about this, we have complicated issues before us this morning.
but the point about what we are doing with scotland is not only are we saying here an assignment of income tax revenue, we're saying and here is the power to raise or lower that depending on the decision us want the make in scotland. i don't quite see the point of assigning revenue to an organization unless you give it the power to poulter it in some way. you could argue that it could be dangerous because if you assign income tax revenue to say birmingham city council, if the economy has a bad year and income tax revenue goes down then birmingham's revenue would be reduced. so you get into all sorts of other problems. >> all i'm suggesting is you are currently assigning the block grant and then give it to local government. why don't you just do it directly so that the elector can see that they pay an element of their income tax to fund local government in england. >> we've done this thing of
transparency, sending every taxpayer where the money goes and that shows how much goes to local government and how much goes to welfare. i think i favor that over what you're suggesting, but this is a two-way exchange of ideas so i'll take that away. >> suggestions about aspects of welfare have laid themselves to being devolved of scotland. which areas of welfare, do you think could be or should be devolved? >> well, it's difficult to answer this because we're in the middle of the smith commission process and i don't want to say things that make my team on smith, make their life any more difficult or your team on smith more difficult. i think the basic principle i think is right is -- and again, it comes back to this -- how do we try and settle the united kingdom into a settlement where we feel it's working for every part of the country. i think you want to try and work out which of those parts of
welfare are uk wide and about the solidarity of the united kingdom. i would say the pension system, the basic state pension for everyone in our united kingdom, you know you got the right to a basic state pension when you retire and you got the whole of the united kingdom taxpayers behind you. so to me that is something i wouldn't want to see devolved. and i think in the referendum campaign and debate that element , of solidarity with the engine came through strongly. -- pension came through strongly. i can't get religious about other aspects of health care. the arguments about benefits and what have you, there's a strong case for saying you can devolve those things and allow local decision making. >> which is due to go to universal credit, then that would mean the role of universal credit in scotland would take a different form to that in the rest of the uk. are you quite relaxed about that? >> this is where we have to let smith do the work on this issue.
but clearly given that universal credit is taking it within it so many things within it, you can't say anything regarding that is subject to devolution. so if you're saying might it work differently in scotland to the rest of the united kingdom? then that would be a consequence of that. but let's -- i don't want to go any further otherwise i'll put stones in the pond -- >> you've mentioned pensions. anything else about welfare you would see as sacrosanct that really should be a uk wide responsibility? >> to me the pensions is the most fundamental. but, you know, i think you can make arguments about others both ways. >> and you'll be quite relaxed if your welfare reform agenda sort of slightly derails if some of these aspects get devolved? >> i hope not. because i think welfare reform
is necessary. i think it's been successful. the number of people on out of work benefits is radically reduced in scotland as well as in the rest of the united kingdom. people are getting back to work. numbers are down in the rest of the united kingdom. and the welfare bill, it's important that we get that under proper control and working age welfare is still a very large bill and they're still i think ways we can better allow people to keep more of their own money as they choose then taking it off of them and giving it back in various welfare payments. but let smith do its work. >> that's an argument -- against devolving anything. >> i'm trying to answer your question by saying to me the pension is the absolute cornerstone. what does it mean to be british? as well as the shared institutions, the shared history, the place in the world, the things we do together.
the solidarity aspect in the union which i think is terribly important. that if scotland has a bad year, the whole united kingdom is behind scotland. and if england has a bad year, and that solidarity particularly attracts itself to the argument about pensions. >> identify the spending per head on health. 200 and three pounds -- 203 pounds higher than in england. that gap could actually get wider. and yet you've told us that reforming it isn't on your horizon. could you set up how it could possibly be right if you're someone living with, say heart disease, dementia, arthritis and cancer on one side of the border, there should be so much less of a pot to spend on your health care than there would be if you were the same person living on the other side of the border. >> i don't think there is so much less of a pot.
as i said in answer to earlier questions, if we didn't have the barnett formula, we'd have to come up with some other formula that would distribute money according to need, and we'd have a debate about that. what we have with barnett is a system where if we spend more in england, it has a consequence for scotland and that leads to the overall level of health spending money that is available in scotland, but, of course, the scottish government has a the complete power to spend less than that amount of money, more than that amount of money or the same. it has that choice. and again, sorry to repeat myself. but as you increase the amount of tax and revenue that scotland , you increase the relevance of the barnett formula. withn't the problem barnett that it is an accident of geography whether you're
living five miles south of the border or north of border. it doesn't fund according to need or deprivation or mortality, all those things that have to health seems so unfair. >> that's a good point. what barnett determines is how much block grant goes to scotland and how much stays in england. and then, on health, it's up to the scottish government to then decide not only how much to spend overall on health but also how to distribute health spending as per need within scotland. and that's a decision they rightly make. that's a devolved decision, as is public health. and so of course there's a difference between england and scotland, because you have to have a formula between the two, the two nation, as it were. but then within the two nations we have the department of health and decide how to spend the money and equivalent authorities
in scotland on how to spend their money. >> i agree. but there needs to be a formula about how it's distributed. but isn't the issue with barnett that the size of the cake is so much different. so if you have a much larger cake per head to spend, then that's something you can't get around. you're always going to have that. and that is purely an accident of geography. >> no. well the accident -- barnett, , you know, the distribution of money between england and scotland and england and scotland and wales is determined by the barnett formula. but as i said, if you didn't have that formula, you'd have to have something else. and it would still then be an accident of geography if you were living just one side of the border or the other side of the border as to which pot your money was coming from. so you've got the national distributions, then you have the distributions within each nation, which should be done by the relevant authorities. >> of course, but coming back to the fact that if you have a larger cake to distribute in first place and that that is a larger cake per head of population, that it's very difficult to make adjustments for that that seem fair across borders, and i think that --
>> on that, i think that's really important. because -- i know, but one more go at this because i think it's important. if scotland and england were exactly the same size and same scale and there was a radically different distribution, it would have more power. i often say to english colleagues who say why don't -- the barnett formula, is so unfair. it is so much extra money. if you take all the extra money that scotland gets from the barnett formula and distributed it among the 55 million people in england, it's not a pot of gold. it's not some -- so i think -- look, if you believe in the united kingdom as passionately as i do, you have to find arrangements that seem fair between the countries. and, you know, we shouldn't kid our constituents that there's a pot of gold called the barnett formula. and if we got rid of it we would have all of this money. but it's not true. because there are 55 million english people. and 6 million scots.
don't overestimate the size of this thing and also recognize that it will shrink in significance as we devolve fiscal powers. >> i take the point that it will shrink in significance. could you speak to something that came out during the referendum campaign? could you set out to what extent the uk government is actually able to influence health policy in scotland? >> this is really important. a pity there isn't someone from the snp here, we'd have a really good fight about that. as we did earlier. although we're not here to be political. but very, very clear, the spending, the block grant that scotland gets is dependent on the barnett formula. but once that money has gone to scotland, it is absolutely up to the scottish government and health is entirely devolved, it is up to them to spend how to spend all of that money, more than that money or less than that money. which hospitals get the money, which doctors, which public health programs. that is devolved. so the idea that the continuation of the united
kingdom could damage the scottish health service is nonsense. and i think the snp it was knew it was nonsense when they said it but they went ahead and said it anyway because they thought it would win them votes. the scottish people saw through that. it is up to scotland. >> not just you but the others as well in which you said a lot about health and the direction for the health service to go, but what you say does not apply to scotland, to wales, to northern ireland, yet it's often central to your -- >> yes. i think there's a problem we've all got which is we need to better explain to people which powers are operated where and by whom. and, because it is the national health service, people think all the levers are pulled in westminster whether it's the health system in scotland, which is not the case. it's try to get this
constitutional settlement clearer so that people in scotland know that paying their taxes, where the taxes go, who is responsible for spending the money. but i think at the end of the day, there's no harm and we have a lively debate about the health service in wales, the health service in england, we shouldn't shy away from comparing our systems and how we're doing, how much money we're spending, the decisions we take, the transparency we have, the performance of the health service in england versus wales or wales versus scotland and indeed with education. i think politics should be robust enough that we can have a lively debate. about the performance of public services in different parts of the united kingdom. >> for those who do live in areas, you would expect the management of the various services to make it as easy as possible for people to still cross borders. >> yes. i think that's absolutely right. i think perhaps probably even more an issue in wales than it is in scotland because of the nature of the border and in all the things we do need to make sure we reflect that because a lot of welsh mps will have an
interest in the english health service because their constituents use it and that applies across the border. >> i'm also comparing our systems, the uk systems, the most centralized particularly of england is the most centralized system i've come across in how you raise tax. 100% of tax for an english resident is controlled by government because it was clyde that said even if you look at council tax, it's capped and frozen. so everything is controlled here. and i think one of the arguments if you want a sustainable and fair settlement that everybody can buy into over time is, you know, is this devolution of tax raising powers. as the london mps around the table, you know, i look at, for example, crossrail, take crossrail, that was an issue when i first got involved in politics over 40 years ago.
there was a debate. we needed to build crossrail one. everybody now recognizes you need crossrail two now. not another 40 years until that is implemented. yet the ability to raise the money in london to pay for that infrastructure simply isn't there. and i don't know how you think we can sustain a fair and transparent -- it's not about who is on the lows, but who decides and votes on the taxes and how they're raised and how they're spent. we need to grasp this now and think about devolution of tax raiding powers around property taxation. there's a lot of work been done around that so that decisions can be taken in city regions, in big cities like london without having to wait for agreement across government and without having this massively centralized system that we currently experience in the uk. you can't run away from it.
-- no, look i , want to answer because i'm very proud of the fact that as prime minister i gave the green light to crossrail. and it is on time. it's on budget. it's going to be a fantastic -- >> in 40 years. it took 40 years. >> i agree with that, margaret. but in the end it was funded and the cost -- remember crossrail is the biggest construction project anywhere in europe today. and the idea that in any system london would be wholly able to invest in that literally on its own -- no one -- so what you need is a sympathetic government that has an understanding about the long-term needs of infrastructure and london authorities that do have a bit of financial muscle. and i would argue that's exactly what we've had with the mayor of london who has the ability to help bring together that money and that's why it's gone ahead. and of course, there are arguments for further powers in london as in the cities, but i -- as in other cities, but i
think we should -- london is doing extremely well. the model of hard working effective there and the government who understands the significance of our capital city not just for itself but the country is delivering. london is growing, london is doing well. the construction of the light rail in london is superb. we're about to extend the northern line. you know, it's working. >> i don't want to deprive you of an opportunity to ask questions. >> prime minister, how do you think things are playing out at the moment as far as the discussions are going? i mean, expectation is very high post the referendum. we have to remind ourselves that the snp were on the losing side, although on occasion, it seems they forget that. but we're at the tail end of the parliament. these are really big issues. this is the future of the united kingdom we're talking about. i hope you don't feel in any need to rush things. we want to get the right settlement and not something that sort of ticks the boxes
in the general election but proves to be unsustainable. >> there's no need to rush, but we've got a timetable. it's a timetable for setting out the steps for scotland, the draft closes in january. the legislation will always be for the next government but good all the parties have committed to taking forward. so i don't feel uncomfortable with it at all for our part the commission, his work is excellent. it set a very center ground about what the devolution should look like. so i feel very comfortable with it. i've increasingly come to the settlementsvolved would only work if you have the responsibility of raising and spending more of their own money. as for the english question, again, no need to rush, but a lot of has been done on how to come up with an answer that works. andrew tiry and ken clark did some very good work in opposition, we've had the mckie report since then, lord naughten
did a very good report. so there are a menu out there of options to make the system fair. and i don't think we've got to make decisions about what is the right combination but i think it can be done. >> you have said you don't want to create an english legislature. you don't want to create another tier of government. to make up their minds on english laws. one of the suggestions made was about a fourth reading of the bill which would finally get voted on by english members of parliament to make sure they're happy with the content of the legislation. before the house. how would you feel by that? -- the way i described this -- i'm trying not to take too much time on this but the lord naughton proposal was the serious and the purist. -- simplest and the purist. that every stage of that bill is
only carried out in this parliament by english. that being the purist form. mckie is probably the gentlist form but mckie introduced this principle that you just enunciated that matters that affect england and wales shouldn't be done without the consent of english and welsh mps, so you have this concept of legislative consent. i think the middle ground, he's here so he can correct if i'm wrong. the tyree/clark proposals you have a second reading to the whole of the house and then if it applies to england and wales you have a committee stage and a report stage where the mps affected discuss, debate and amend it, but then you give the whole of the house of commons a sort of lock at third reading because everyone then votes. so you end up with quite a lot of negotiations is sometimes between english mps who might take a particular view and the government of the day.
so that's got a lot of attraction. so my view is that there are three good models. we might want to look at taking elements from each of them. but there is a way of comprehensively answering those questions in the way that maintains the integrity of our system and that i think can build this forward. >> are you satisfied that all parties are playing a constructive part in these discussions? i know you're fully committed to finding a way forward. but are you happy that other party leaders are engaging in this process as you are? >> as i said, to mr. betts, when we got a bit heated, so i'm not with that. i would understand if i thought this question didn't really have an answer, but i think it does. and so, i, there's a cabinet committee which has conservative and liberal democrats on it
working on it and doing good stuff. they do want to take part. i hope they'll still engage in this debate, but i think decision time is coming pretty soon because, you know, if we're going to have something available on a similar time scale for scottish devolution, then you need to set out proposals, just as we will have proposals for scotland, you'll need proposals for how we answer this before the election in the early part of next year and that every party will have to put in manifestly what it's going to do, but i'm convinced that i'll have a clear plan for how to address this issue that will be done on a similar time scale to what's happening in scotland. >> you've described mckie proposals as requiring english consent to legislation. but that's not correct, is it? >> well, see -- >> the proposal provides for england and wales mps to provide their consent before the third reading. so yes, it's not quite as we were discussing. it is like that. >> thank you. so it's not in fact consent. it's to provide a voice which may then be overruled by the uk parliament, just to be clear.
>> that's right. you can correct me. i think your proposals that you and -- >> i just want to clarify. >> i want to make sure i understand your proposals, too. >> all right. >> let's come to my proposals for a moment. let's clarify what mckie says. >> mckie says that england or england and wales mps would voice their consent on the final bill, all of the relevant parts of it, after the report stage but before the third reading. a motion will be put immediately after the report to agree with that debate, those measures to agree related to england or england and wales only which could be voted on by england and wales mps only. that's the way mckie -- >> so it's a voice. he provides a voice for the english which then can be overruled at third reading? or at the report stage. >> or any of us can go back and find that answer in the documents.
>> i think everyone is agreeing. >> what i was trying to say is -- naughton is the most full throated. tyree/clark is in the middle. mckie is the least strong. i think there's a combination i'm sure that we can come to. >> it's the principle that i want to get on to, prime minister. to establish the principle that should guide where on what you've described as a spectrum whether or not it is between all these measures, where you would want to end up. do you agree that the phrase english votes for english laws will be taken by english voters, probably scottish voters, too, welsh and everyone, to mean that the english ultimately can veto, can prevent a piece of legislation affecting only then being imposed on them? >> basically, yes, because i
would say the principle is -- so the -- >> let me -- >> hold on. >> i want to make sure i get this right. where there's a separate and distinct effect on england, the consent of english mps should be required. so i think that is -- to answer your question, yes, i think you've got to be able to put that principle into practice. >> it might be helpful, much quicker, if we just photocopied that very good guide -- >> if you can read my handwriting. you'd be pushed to understand my scribbles. >> in which case, what does that that -- what is required to deliver that consent? that is the question. do you agree that whether or not we use what are called legislative consent motions or whether we just give a simple power to the english at the report stage and maybe the
english and the welsh with respect to certain bills, the decision about that in the fourth reading proposal, has to be taken at least in or after report stage. it cannot occur before report stage. because if it does the bill can be amended back to its original form using uk votes. >> i think there's a very strong argument. i do think that that is the effect that you want to achieve. again, you know, we are trying to stand back from the detail for a second. >> when you say you, is that you or me? is that the effect you want. >> that i believe we should achieve. >> excellent. >> i think on this point we're on the same side. past seven years, alex m and served as first minister of scotland and scottish national party leader.
on tuesday, he gave his final speech as leader. he led the 2014 independence referendum campaign, advocating for scotland to break away from the united kingdom. it officially stepped on from this position at the annual conference earlier this month. he'll continue to serve as a member of the scottish parliament. this is about 15 minutes. >> thank you. we now move to the next part of business which is a statement by alex salmond, the first minister of scotland. >> standing officer, firstly i have to, and not for the first time in this chamber, disappoint. i took it from his question, the first minister's question last thursday he was making a very subtle last-ditch attempt to persuade me to stay in force. -- in post-. i've given his suggestion great thought but have decided to resign, anyway, at the start of parliamentary business tomorrow.
this notice should allow him ample time secure his nominations to have a tilt at the job. i assure him if he so decides, then i'll weigh up his candidacy with great care before casting my vote for my friend and colleague, nicholas. resounding officer, there are now only a minority of members here today who like you and i attended the opening ceremony of this reconvened parliament in 1999. it was a great day. we had moving poetry. the late donald gave the finest speech of his life. when they sang "a man is a mandate," -- a man," the entire chamber joined in the final verse. one other thing struck me about that day, when the msps entered the general assembly building on the mound, we were cheered then -- cheered in by the public. i've never seen that level of
public engagement in politics before and until this last summer, i'd never seen it since. the public enthusiasm on that first day was an inspiration but also a challenge. it was eddie morgan who captured the mood perfectly five years later in a poem to mark the opening of this parliament building. consentyou are -- our to govern. don't pocket it and ride away. we give you our dearest wish to govern well. don't say we have no mandate to be so bold. my view is that on the whole, this parliament has fulfilled the public wishes and then the consent. we've accepted the mandate to be bold. our composition now reflects much of the diversity of modern scotland. we've become the chief national hub for debate, the chamber in which people expect to deflekt -- to reflect their values,
priorities and hopes. that's not because of any one political party. it's because of the commitment of so many of the members over the last 15 years. i think in particular some of the msps who are no longer with us, donald, margaret ewing, phil, david mcclechy, john, sam, and, of course, the truly remarkable mcdonald. this parliament's proceedings are not perfect. however, how could they be? we're not actually 15 years old, we're 15 years young. and you, presenting officer, have implemented significant improvements. this parliament has great strengths and we should never underplay them. at the last speech i made in this chamber, it was at the business and parliament conference with 100 businesses,
the representatives were sitting in the chamber here alongside six ministers, 17 msps, and people from the subsector, for from the public sector. last year, more than 400 different organizations held events in this building. overall in 15 years we've welcomed more than 4 million visitors. and that degree of accessibility is not unique in the democratic world, but it's very rare and pretty impressive. for my time as first minister, i tried to reflect that and approach the government to be key social partners. last week we asked for exactly that point at our regular meetings between government and general council. presiding officer, i've led a minority administration and a majority one. minority government requires negotiation. to recognize honest disagreement and then compromise in the public interest. the presiding officer, -- and
presiding officer, i have absolutely no idea if my experience of minority government in this place will ever come in handy in another place. interestingly, when we had a my -- a minority government, the snp there were hardly any , occasions where other parties lined up against us. mind you, there were the edinburgh trams. cut perhaps the better, more -- but perhaps the better, more important point to reflect on today, so many occasions in both minority government and in majority government that have been cross-party support for social and economic change. for example, i think on february 2008 when the liberal democrats and the greens voted with us to restore the principle of free higher education in scotland. or june 2009 when we passed the most ambitious climate change legislation of any country in the world, we had the support of
every party in this chamber including the conservative party. on march of this year when labor liberal democrats as the greens -- and the greens joined with us to ensure that nobody need face eviction from their homes as a consequence of the tax. but most of all, i think about the consistent and often join t endeavor against the headwinds of economic circumstance and austerity to make scotland a stronger, freer, and more cohesive nation. for my time as first minister, i have heard it said i some in this place the government's pursuit of national independence clouded out other issues. even that the constitution was of little interest to scotland. but that has not been the experience or the verdict of the people. we have all just lived through one of the moef st invigorating, decorating extraordinary invigorating,
extraordinary debates of the year. of any country, anywhere, at any time. it is argued that people everywhere have become disengaged from politics. not in scotland, in 2014. it is sad that they no longer care about the business of governance. not in scotland in 2014. and the last few months we've watched an electorate passionately engaged in the business of fashioning their own future. i see little evidence that the people of scotland resented the government pursuing that business with them and for them. it was considered of the newspaper, a consistent and bulwark of this government over the last seven years, to provide today showing 50% smp support on the very day i am leaving. mind you, it might be because i'm leaving. but it's a wise -- it's a wise newspaper that listens to the verdict of its readers. the more important realization
is this. we're on a political journey, and each step along the way has been dictated by the impact of the constitution on issues which mean the most to ordinary scots. this parliament was reborn out of the realization we could no longer be dictated by -- could no longer afford to have domestic policies dictated by governments without democratic legitimacy. we progressed because people became impatient with politicians who wanted to administer rather than to govern. and we'll grow further yet because people wish to shape the circumstances around them and are demanding in the parliament fully equipped for that task. the last 12 months have been an extraordinary example of this nation's talents and capabilities. it's been a year of substantial economic progress. 50,000 people. more people in employment in scotland. we have a record total of women
in employment in scotland. there are figures showing onward investment at a 17-year high. we hosted our your of homecoming, -- year of homecoming we staged the ryder , cup and organized the greatest ever commonwealth games. and the referendum which has been hailed around the world as a model of truly participative democracy. scotland has a new sense of political confidence and new sense of economic confidence. they're reinforcing each other, and wherever we travel, start traveling together as a nation, we are transforming this country for the better. presiding officer, that new sense of political confidence, of engagement, is the point to which i wish to end. at the start of my speech, i mentioned the enthusiasm that was generated by the reestablishment of this parliament in 1999. when the msps were applauded into the assembly hall.
15 years on, that applause has evolved into something more meaningful. sustained critical constructive engagement involving people in every part of the country. scotland now is the most energized, empowered, informed electorate in europe. we have a new generation of citizens who understand that their opinion matters. who believe that their voice will be heard and to know that their vote can shape the society they live in. for all of us, that should be a point of pride. a source of challenge. for me, the sense of generational change has been a factor in deciding the time is right to move on from being first minister. for this parliament, it should spur us on to become even more accessible, to serve the new expectations of the people. for everyone in public life, it should inspire us to empower the electorate, as we continue to quest to create a more
prosperous and equal scottland. i wish each and every one of you well in pursuit of that endeavor. presiding officer, it has been the privilege of my life to serve as first minister for these last 7 1/2 years. any parting is tinged with some sorrow, but in this case it's vastly outweighed by a sense of optimism and confidence. confidence that we will have an outstanding new first minister, confidence in the standing and the capability of this chamber, and most of all, confidence in the wisdom, the talent, the potential of the people of scotland. scotland has changed, changed utterly, and much for the better over the 15 years of this parliament and years of this and seven years of this government. i'm happy to say with every degree of certainty that more change and better days lie ahead for this parliament and for
>> monday night on the communicators, tim long on the wong on the-- time technology that provides data analytics. onwe can actually break down a legislator or by legislator or bases how likely they are to vote for a bill. there are a lot of opportunities for attorneys, lobbyists, whenever to go in and say that me look at this bill. based on the cosponsors, here are the people most likely at least likely to vote for it. you can start looking at developing a strategy in terms of trying to get at the information that you need. what i will say is that our analytics do not provide all of the answers. it is not a crystal ball or we can ask any question. -- where we can ask any question. power in is a lot of
combining our intelligence with raw intelligence on the ground in combining those two things could get to the answers you would like to get. >> monday night on 8:00 eastern on c-span two. >> this week on "q&a," our guest is david mark with a new book entitled "dog whistles, walk-backs and washington handshakes: decoding the jargon, slang and bluster of american political speech." mr. mark talks about the humorous side of politics and the language used by politicians to speak to each other and to the american people. >> david mark, why did you want to decode the jargon of american political speech? >> my co-author and i, chuck mccutcheon, had covered
congress, we covered campaigns, been out on the trail, watched hundreds of hours of news, maybe thousands of hours. we had heard politicians of all stripes use many of the same phrases. republican, democrat, they would use a lot of these cliches. we wanted to explain to people who don't work in politics what these folks are actually getting at. >> when did you become interested in politics? >> that would be in my early college years. i grew up in a political house in southern california where my parents talk about it around the dinner table but i got interested myself around 1992 when i was a freshman in college. the bill clinton presidential campaign was going on against
george h.w. bush. i found myself after that very exciting campaign in which a sitting president was defeated, starting to watch congressional proceedings on television. i watched the house and senate. i would hear members of congress use phrases like "my good friend." being young and naive, i figured they actually were friends with each other. years later, i realized that wasn't quite the case. >> why did you come to d.c.? >> i wanted to get involved in politics. i was a political science major in college. i realized i wanted to do something with it. i liked doing politics, following it from a nonpartisan point of view. i thought about academia, getting a phd. i realized i was kind of a news junkie. i followed it all the time. that is when the internet was
burgeoning. print newspaper still had a lot of clout along with television networks. i said to myself, i do this in my free time anyway. i might as well try to make a living at it. >> how many different terms are in here? >> about 200 or so. >> some video i want to show you and have you explain. [video clip] >> i say to my good friend from north dakota, no. >> i thank my good friend. >> i would say to my good friend from wisconsin -- >> i thank my good friend from california. >> the act sponsored by my good friend from colorado. >> where did this start? >> this has british lineage. it comes from parliament hundreds of years ago. if you have seen the proceedings of the house of commons, they say "the right honorable gentleman." which has a similar meaning. it is kind of a thinly veiled approach to trying to be polite to somebody that you don't
really care for. in the house of representatives, there are 435 members. a lot of these are men and women who don't even know who each other are. it is kind of disingenuous. in the case of the senate, there is only 100. they probably know each other. they might not like each other but at least there is a better chance of them being acquaintances. >> you call these cliches. >> some of them are cliches. they are cliches among the political pack. when you hear members of both parties, democratic lawmakers, republicans, using the same phrases -- some of this is dictated by the rules of the house. where you are only allowed to say certain things. i think in washington they have become cliches. >> is there somebody in politics that is known for doing this all the time? >> so many of them. if you listen to a news conference by house speaker john boehner, nancy pelosi, the
former house speaker, any of the other congressional leaders, you will hear versions of this. whether it is american exceptionalism or my good friend or trying to lift the economy, or any such phrase. that is what really got me interested in writing this book. many of these folks have really successful careers before congress. they were a business executives, lawyers, doctors, military officers. in those positions, they had to exercise independent judgment, critical thinking, and i'm certain they didn't speak this way. >> i'm going to post some different phrases. acela corridor. >> that refers to the amtrak trains that run between washington dc and new york city. it is shorthand for the
chattering class. those who are in the know politically, often political operatives, members of congress, politicians, influencers. they tend to ride these pricier trains between new york and washington dc. sometimes it is just do do "a hit" on television, as it is called. you might go up for the day and come back to d.c. >> you know the trip from here to new york is about 2:45 -- the regular train is a half hour longer. but half as expensive. >> i think it is a status thing. to be able to say, i got there quicker. also, it is left unsaid by many of the people who take it but it is a more elite way of traveling. this is portrayed particularly